Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and briefed the cabinet on his meeting in Riyadh with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and his talks with visiting Presidents Girma Woldegiorgis of Ethiopia and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. These consultations included discussion on the current situation in the region, notably the siege by Israeli forces that reflects Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people and their leadership, and the perpetration of the ugliest of crimes against them with no respect for the universal norms honored by the international community.
The cabinet again denounced the Israeli government's continued rejection of and disrespect for the United Nations resolutions that call for peace and stability in the Palestinian territories, and took note that recent contacts involving the United States had led to the lifting of the siege imposed on the headquarters of the Palestinian President, an indication of U.S. influence on Israel. The cabinet expressed the hope that the United States will continue this trend and put pressure on Israel to implement all relevant UN resolutions in order to achieve peace in the region.
Crown Prince Abdullah then formally welcomed the new Minister of Water Dr. Ghazi bin Abdulrahman Al-Qusaibi, wishing him and his colleagues every success. He commented on the importance of water, and the inescapable fact that the nature of the Kingdom's climate necessitates its conservation.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the Minister of Foreign Affairs or his deputy to sign a draft agreement with the Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina on cooperation in the areas of economy, commerce, investment, technology, culture, youth and sports; endorsement of certain amendments to the Labor and Workers Act regarding the functions of courts of first instance for settling labor disputes; ratification of an agreement with the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan concerning the organization of overland transportation of goods and passengers; and approval of a proposal presented by the Minister of Health that his ministry coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in consultations with the GCC member states to form a special group in support of the World Health Organization's proposed draft framework agreement to combat tobacco, with recommendations that regional organizations such as the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Muslim World League, prepare themselves for active participation in the ongoing negotiations.